My cat's LOVE to eat the new growth on my three year old palm. They have managed to make it looks like a buzz cut. Does anybody else have this problem and how do I keep them from chomping on it? How long will it take to get back the beautiful palm I once had? Would it be better to get a new one? (I'd hate to do that...)
More info: the plant itself it doing fine. I have cut back on my water drastically. There is not root-rot. There is no evidence of it dying. So far, it appears to be healthy, just a little short on the tail.
Last edited by LilyofthePlains; September 24th, 2008 at 06:02 PM.
Reason: include picture
the plant will put out new growth - eventually. in the mean time, you need to put the plant somewhere where the cats can't get to it (so that it can recover).
i resorted to redoing one of the bedrooms and making it a plant room and i keep the door closed so my cat can't get in there.
if you have no spot to put it in where it won't get eaten, you could try putting bitter apple spray on it, or cayenne pepper (make a dilution of the powder stuff and coat the leaves) or something similar to deter the cats. i don't know if it'll work though - from the damage, i'd say the ponytail palm is pretty tasty (to the cats). might be a losing battle - for the plant as well as you.
I have three cats, but only one chomps. Her name is Pumpkin.
Only one cat, Maestro, is allowed to go outside as he will return home. The others, Pumpkin and Korea, will not so they stay inside.
I have four bowls of "cat grass" for them. They are also chomped on. These pots of grass have kept Maestro and Korea happy, but Pumpkin refuses to use them and turns to the Palm instead.
I have moved the Palm to a higher self, and she climbs up the wall to get to it. When I moved it into another room, my husband doesn't seem to understand...KEEP OUT and DO NOT LEAVE DOOR OPEN and NO CATS ALLOWED, REMOVE THEM!...even though it was posted on the door.
Currently, this poor palm is located inside it's own cage, and every once in a while, I wills still find Pumpkin inside. Though we have not found out how she manages to get in.
Thank you for your help with the Pepper Spray...will be trying that. Hopefully it works.
I feel for ya. Back when I had 2 cats, I put up wire fencing (this was indoors) around my plant shelf and in the pots of my large floor-sitting dracaena and schefflera. Even so...the masticated leaves...the clawed trunks...the lack of feline comprehension on the issue "No, this pot is NOT a litter box." Never forget the time when I approached the fenced-in area to see Fuchsia (she had, apparently, leapt neatly over the wire) taking her ease on a phalaenopsis.
Not to mention the perching on a high shelf to get a snack of Boston fern suspended in midair...
Perhaps a lock could be installed, to which only YOU have the key, on the plant-room door.
The cage the palm is in is double wire mesh cage. The holes are overlayed so they are half the size origionally. The only opening is the bottom, there is no door. When I water, I can either lift the cage off or water through the wire (which I do the most of). The holes are 1 inch wide, and the total weight is roughly 10 pounds.
Though this may seem harsh, before I put the palm under the wire, I put Pumpkin under it for three day (yes, she had a litter box, water, food, a bed, toys). She tried to squeeze through the holes, but would not fit.
The pepper didn't work...so if anybody else has ANY ideas...PLEASE, let me know...
if there's nothing securing it to a base, then, most definitely pumpkin is popping right under the cage. a weight on top will confuzzle her - and you'll get a few laughs at watching her trying to get in there...
Electrifying the cage might be considered cruel. You need to find some way make the idea of toying with the plants very offensive to them. If the plant smells offensive to them, they will leave it alone.
Try luring the beasties away with catnip or give them something else to entertain themselves with.
I thank everybody for their input...many have helped a lot.
(Togata57) Pumpkin weights a little under three pounds, she is not able to lift the ten pound cage. She tried many times while we were testing her inside it and failed to lift it each and every time.
(Joslyn) Securing the base, it's sitting on a hard wood floor and I'm currently looking into options of what the base can be made out of. Thank you for that suggestion.
(Cereusly Steve) Electrifying the cage doesn't seem to be an option. We have two other cats, a new kitten, a dog, and two nephews to consider. Would've been a grand idea if I didn't have the literal version of an animal house.
As for the name of this plant: Beaucarnea recurvata is the scientific term or "proper" term for it. As for the name Ponytail Palm, this name is called the "layman's term". It is known to the people whom don't keep track of the scientific terminology, or "proper terms". You try going into a store and asking for a Beaucarnea Recurvata, most people will give you a weird look and ask you what it looks like, ask for another name, or plainly tell you they don't have it because they don't reconize the name; that's there they Ponytail Palm comes into play. The top, as you know, looks like a ponytail and the leaves RESEMBLE palm leave. People must keep in mind that there are many names and terminology for each and every plant. Some people will go strictly by their scientific terms, some will go by their layman's terms. Each and every name is correct to the person whom knows it, because in the end, it is the exact same plant.
P.S. Go into any store large chain store... i.e. Home Depot...take a look at their plants. What is the name on their tag? For this one it was PONYTAIL PALM not Beaucarnea recurvata. They are going by the layman's term because Beaucarnea recurvata isn't recognizable to the larger group of plant customers.
Here's what I do, and my past two kitties have been chomp-fanatic and disrespectful of plants in general.
To deter the use of the poor little pachycaul as a litterbox, a couple of old-fashioned napthalene mothballs on the surface of the soil make it less than desireable as a bathroom. This may also keep Pumpkin from nibbling, as she won't want to get too close to the plant.
To deter chompiness, I think caging or isolating the plant have been discussed. So has caging the kitty, although that is a less-than-popular option for the kitty. If you're looking for a good base material, though, try plasteel (that recycled pop-bottle plastic stuff that they use to make picnic tables.) For my current chomp-monster, I have a big pot of cat-grass which she is free to knarble on, as well as a much-abused spider plant that she seems to prefer to the other delectables in the garden. Except the beets. If anyone has a way to make beet-greens less palatable to a chomper-kitty without ruining them for my own use, please let me know!
If you are trying to build up your own private zoo, then the plants will not survive. In most of the public zoos, the plants are treated as temporary additions and are frequenty replaced.
The reason that most of the employees at the Home Despot or any other place they sell really cheap plants to the masses will give you a funny look when you call plants by their correct names is because they typically hire untrained highschoolers for little pay who wouldn't know a Sansevieria from shinola. All they know about Hoya is that its the name of some basketball team from Georgetown. Plant experts they are not. What do you expect when you buy your plants at a hardware store anyway?
The dumbing down of plant names for the masses is not because its the the right thing to do, its because retailers are trying to cater to the lowest common denominator who are really gullible and to separate them from their money. That's why you see weedy plants being sold under misleading names like "Lucky Bamboo" and "Money Plant". Its to take in the gomers who believe they are getting something really special when they really aren't. Dumbing down to cater to the layperson is not something to be proud of. Its being talked down to and condescending. Its really an insult.
Agree with Lorax - try spider plant. My cats love to chomp on mine.
What Lorax did not mention was that one of her cats developed a taste for tillisandia, an air plant that grows wild in trees in her area. Cat would prowl the ground under the trees hoping to find one that had fallen off the tree. Then one day cat learned where they grew. She now harvests her own as needed ;)) barb